Not too long ago I was in Madrid, testing the Porsche Panamera GTS and it’s all-new All-Wheel Drive system. Two weeks later, I was on my way back to Spain to spend time with another manufacturer, this time at the Circuito de Navarra. Like the Panamera, this model was set to be a game-changer for its company. Unlike Porsche, which smoothed the edges of its previous generation model, the latest GT marked a whole new direction for Bentley, and it’s Continental.
Unlike the previous generation’s W12 powerplant, this GT version is powered by a twin-turbo V8. Suddenly Bentley’s Rapide and Granturismo challenger has the Panamera GTS and BMW M5 in its sights, and that’s no easy fight.
So focused are Bentley on showcasing the V8 prowess of its new GT that – unusually for one of crankandpiston’s jaunts – I begin my time with the car on-track at Navarra, one of the most technically complex circuits in Europe.
I’d find out later how the Continental dealt with the real-world, but my morning begins with a driver briefing and a helmet fitting. The message is simple: go out, have fun, but don’t bin the car. Not having just shy of $175,000 on me to cover the write-off charge, it seemed wise to heed this advice. Soon I’m in the hot seat (ah, right-hand drive too) and heading down the pitlane, Sport mode on.